Although the numbers on their record may not show it, this season was a big improvement for the Swarthmore field hockey team. The women worked diligently throughout the 2015 fall season to improve their standings from the 2014 season and made definitive strides in terms of personal skills. Audrey Allen ’16 considered their game against Richard Stockton College to be the best display of their competitive level of play.
“It was a close game and we came away with a 3-2 victory. That team had beat Hopkins, who we had lost to, so it was a really fun win for us.”
Clare Perez ’18 scored the opening goal of the game with a reverse chip shot, followed by a goal by Kathleen Carmichael ’19 who was fed by a cross from Jordyn Bell ’17. Richard Stockton scored two goals as well, leading the game into an intense overtime. Fortunately, Erin Gluck ’16 scored within 32 seconds of overtime, sealing the win for Swarthmore.
Ainsley Parrish ’16 mentioned that another highlight of the fall season was playing the the nationally ranked Franklin and Marshall College team. Although Swarthmore fell to F&M, the women used this game as a marker in their improvement. “In that game we really clicked as a team,” she said. “We showed the number four team in the nation that they needed to work hard for a win.”
Katherine Ianni ’17 described that her team’s overall performance this season truly displayed the improvement they made from 2014. “Although there is still a lot of work to be done, there were amazing moments this season and it was really rewarding to have our team playing so well together,” she said. “A lot of our success can be attributed to the fact that, despite the rocky path our seasons have taken, everyone remains positive, supportive, and hard-working.”
Now that the team has finished their season, however, they are staying in shape and preparing for the next one. The team has frequent lifts, especially after winter break in January and February, and each member of the team can often be found in the Matchbox staying in shape or on the field practicing passing and shooting. Additionally, the team creates such bonds among friends that the members of the team spend much time together even during the off-season.
Julia Thomas ’16 said, “Whether we’re hanging out in the locker room, on a bus ride to a game, or studying in Cornell together, I feel like we are constantly laughing.”
As is expected at Swarthmore, members of the team have many talents and interests outside of athletics and academics, and they use their off-season to foster extracurricular activities that they do not have quite as much time for during the fall season. During and outside of the fall season, some members of the field hockey team participate in extracurricular activities such as SAT tutoring, chorus, TAing, and pottery.
Thomas is spending this semester student teaching in a third grade classroom at Swarthmore-Rutledge Elementary School, which takes up the majority of her time. Additionally, she is an RA and an SAT tutor for juniors at Upper Darby High School. Audrey Allen ’16 has been using her free time gained from the current off-season to exercise according to her own schedule, and to devote attention to a nagging IT band injury which bothered her during the season. Allen also devotes much of her off-season time to pottery. Although she takes pottery as a class and does receive academic credit for it, she describes pottery as a type of work that engages her differently than studying.
“You can’t go into the studio and say, ‘I’ll make 5 bowls in 2 hours and then be done for the night,’ because sometimes you don’t always make something you like or create the exact shape you wanted,” she said. “I like pottery because it’s a process that requires a lot of patience and time, and it helps me a lot to throw when I don’t feel rushed.”
Ianni explained that she fills her newly gained time from being out of season with a variety of activities including working out with teammates, getting extra homework done, and taking advantage of her professors’ office hours. Additionally, Ianni has a passion for singing and has been a member of the Garnet Singers, an all-female voice quartet, which is a part of the Fetter Chamber Music Program, since her freshman year. She also takes private singing lessons. Ianni expresses that her fervor and dedication for field hockey manifest similarly when it comes to singing.
“It just engages me in a different way than academics and sports do,” she said. “Also, it’s easy to spend time practicing or going to rehearsal when it is so enjoyable.”
The field hockey team will graduate five important and devoted seniors this year. Transitioning from the field dynamic that the team has worked hard this past season to develop may be tricky, but luckily the program has welcomed a great set of new players this year as well as last, including four freshmen, a sophomore transfer student, and two junior walk-ons. For now, until the spring season begins after spring break, the field hockey team will use their extra time to pursue extracurricular interests, exercise on a more flexible schedule and catch up with friends that they do not see as much during the fall season.